Let the Pappy Hunt Begin!

Mapping Pappy Van Winkle

Pappy Van Winkle has reportedly been released to the public in Virginia, at least according to the Pappy Release Map by bourbonr.com. (If you live in VA let us know if this is fact or fiction.)

The Map came out today and it is one of the better, more reliable resources I've found for tracking when and where Pappy is likely to show up.

Here's a link if you want to check it out. You may have to sign up to access it, but it is worth it if you want to keep your finger on the pulse of the Pappy Van Winkle release.

If you haven't already established a very solid relationship (by buying tons of good, expensive bourbon) with your liquor store of choice, here are the options your left with.

Stand in Line

This means locating a store that does not dole it out via the "my best customers" approach, but instead, offers it on a "first-come, first-served" basis. This also means you are going to stand in line (maybe even camp out) for a long, long, long time. Usually these are big chain stores that want to make everybody happy by not playing favorites. (If you go this route, bring a tasty bottle of some other bourbon to enjoy, as you smirk at this phenomenon that shows how crazy us human beings really are.)

Roll the Dice

Play the lottery. Get lucky as hell. This strategy is all about what you think moves the universe or what actually does or doesn't. But that is a deep, philosophical question for another day. Here you simply throw your name in a hat and hope like hell you have good karma or dumb luck. Most will make you come into the store to enter, but some (the big boys) may offer an online lottery. (I'll make you aware of all the ones I know of as I discover them.)

Visit "Mom and Pop" Liquor Stores

The older these stores are, the better --- and if it's in Kentucky, even better. Maybe, just maybe, you will be that lucky son/daughter of a gun, who wandered in on a whim and will have a story to tell for the rest of his/her life.

Just Say No and Go to a Bar

Yes, you will have to put down a lot of cash for...not a lot of Pappy, but at least you'll have tasted this golden elixir that has every one raving. Yes, it is irrational, like thinking any business with a dot com at the end of its name would make billions (if you weren't around in the 2000s you may not get that). And if you think about it --- paying $50, $70 or even $100 an ounce at a bar is not too much worse than paying $800 (15yr), $1000 (20yr), $1200 (23yr) for a bottle on the secondary market. (750ml/50ml = 15 x 100 = 1500). Here's a list of bars that normally carry Pappy, but always check as some will run out this time of year, but should be getting a fresh infusion soon. (I've also mapped them. Check that out here.)

Anyway, good luck and stay tuned. I'll offer you as much intelligence as I run across so you can find the unfindable, but...if you don't, there's still a lot of TASTY bourbon out there that you can find. So give it your best shot, but if you come up short...no worries. Go buy 2 or 10 of your favorites.

Let me know if you hear of any Pappy showing up in your area and I'll pass it along.


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Join the Pappy Club













The Pappy Club is about to launch.

Just in time for Pappy Hunting season and you don't want to miss out on this opportunity to get some Pappy Winkle, the best Bourbon in the World. This is a private membership club for those 21 years and older. It is designed to help you locate a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle or other hard-to-find bottle of bourbon for your collection.

We will pick the brains of those who have found multiple bottles over the years and introduce you to some their strategies for finding it.

Plus if you're not 100% happy with the Pappy Club on January 1, 2016, you can ask for a refund. (That's about when Pappy hunting season ends each year.)

(Must Be 21 to Join.)

Join Now.

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So Pappy Season Is In Full Swing…

Pappy Van Winkle Full Swing

Ok so we are here...

...meaning "Pappy Season" is in full swing. People are camping out in KY, AL, and other locales just to sight and maybe even get or taste a bottle of the GOOD STUFF.

But you know what there is this really good guy down or over in Louisville, KY that is (or was) selling Pappy at cost. Last year, he offered it up in jello shots (sacrilege to us purists), but this year in addition to watching it jiggle, he is also selling it at cost. Good guy. Marketing genius. Just plain stupid? Depends on who you ask.

But I say Hurrah! The world needs a little more Pappy at cost.

Went into my local place today and asked if the Pappy was on the way. He wasn't sure, but he did have a shipment of 7-year Weller (hard to come by in these parts), so I bought two. He reminisced about years ago (probably 10) when Pappy came in bottles just like Weller.

I asked when did Pappy just get crazy? He opined it was 5 or so years ago (which is about the time I got in the game).

So anyway the main reason I am writing this meandering post is to tell you about a few things and share a few links.

  1. If you hurry and live near Louisville, KY you might be able to get Pappy at cost.
  2. 2 Tales of "Pappy Camping"
  3. And a BLAST from the PAST (just incase you forgot some dudes stole Pappy last year)

So good luck Pappy Hunters. Here's hoping you have knocked on wood, karmaed, or whatever else you do to put luck in your favor in order to get some Pappy this year. Apparently, there is less out there and more of those despicable types who buy it to sell, instead of sip. DAMN THEM!

I've got a bottle of 12 in the cabinet and if, and when, I get the call for a new one I will pop it open and sip, sip, sip.

Here's hoping the call comes soon.

Cheers and hope you get to crack open a bottle of Pappy this year.



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Greedy Angels to Leave Some Pappy Seekers High and Dry

Greedy Angels

Yesterday Buffalo Trace sent out a press release saying "some of the angels were extra greedy over the past two decades, leaving us less bourbon than in previous years." That means there is about "half as much as last year."

Stay tuned I will have a post soon about the pending release and tools you can use to track it, and hopefully locate some (or at least have a shot at standing line for it.)

Here's the press release in its entirety:

Van Winkle Bourbon Available Soon 
Barrels yield less 15, 20 and 23 Year Old Bourbon than usual 

FRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY (Oct. 14, 2015) – The long anticipated annual release of the Van Winkle bourbons is nearly here, but unfortunately some of the angels were extra greedy over the past two decades, leaving us less bourbon than in previous years.

“When bourbon ages over 15 years, much is lost to the angel’s share. Many of the 53 gallon oak barrels often yield less than 20 gallons,” said Kris Comstock, bourbon marketing director. “Unfortunately this year we experienced poor yields on the older Van Winkle whiskeys. Furthermore, we have strict quality standards here at Buffalo Trace and several of the older Van Winkle barrels did not meet those standards. This makes a drastic difference in volume, considering we have very few barrels as it is. The result is less 15 year-old Pappy Van Winkle than usual, and far less 20 year-old and 23 year-old. Frankly, about half as much as last year.”

Known for their smoother and sweeter flavor, Van Winkle bourbons are aged years longer than most others and garner an impeccable reputation among connoisseurs. Although the bourbons have become increasingly popular worldwide in recent years, very little is sold overseas, so that most of these coveted bottles are available in the United States.

The Van Winkle collection consists of several whiskeys. Suggested retail prices are as follows:

$49.99 - Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Bourbon 10 Year Old 107 proof

$59.99 - Van Winkle Special Reserve Bourbon 12 Year Old

$99.99 - Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye Whiskey 13 Year Old

$79.99 - Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 15 Year Old

$149.99 - Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 20 Year Old

$249.99 - Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 23 Year Old

“Although a lot of retailers charge more than our suggested pricing, we are not asking them to do so,” said Julian Van Winkle, president, Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery. “We have not raised prices and do not intend to do so drastically in the future. We are committed to our quality and our pricing.”

The Van Winkle line of whiskeys has won a multitude of awards through the years, including the 15-year-old being named “Excellent/highly recommended” in the 2014 Ultimate Spirits Challenge; the 20 year-old awarded “Extraordinary/ultimate recommendation” in the 2013 Ultimate Spirits Challenge; a double gold for the 20 year-old in the 2014 San Francisco World Spirits Competition; and the Chairman’s Trophy and “Extraordinary/Ultimate Recommendation” for the 20 year-old in the 2015 Ultimate Spirits Challenge.

The Van Winkle Whiskeys will be available starting in November, but please be mindful that supply is quite limited and bottles shall be hard to find in stores, bars and restaurants. They will be packed three bottles per case.



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Why Weller is Getting Harder and Harder to Find


"The collection represented a twenty-four-year “vertical” of W. L. Weller Special Reserve containing a bottle from every year from 1987 to 2010. Vintage Weller is a substance direly coveted by bourbon fanatics. It is a close sibling of Pappy Van Winkle, a bourbon over which the whiskey world has lately gone insane. Empty bottles of Pappy can sell on eBay for upwards of a hundred dollars. A full bottle, when it can be found, will set you back thousands. The good news is that modern-day Weller is a lot easier to find than Pappy, and it is genetically identical to the celebrated stuff. Weller and Pappy enter the world in the same distillation. As they age, the most extraordinary barrels get set aside for the Van Winkle line. The unchosen ones are sent off to market under the Weller label at a bit north of twenty dollars a bottle, within reach of the common man." - From The Great Bourbon Taste Test - By Wells Tower, Garden and Gun

The Great Bourbon Taste Test

Why Weller 12 Is Almost Pappy Van Winkle


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